Cranswick performs well, despite challenges

Higher pig prices and rising input costs have not hindered Cranswick’s performance in the first half of 2013, with total sales at £483.5m – 15% up year-on-year (yoy).

The pork processor’s underlying revenue for the six months to 30 September 2013 stood at £474.9m, up 13% on last year, figures released this morning showed.

Chairman Martin Davey said the first half of the year had been “overall quite a positive” time for the company. He explained that continued growth in sales and investment in the company’s assets and the development of its pig breeding and rearing activities impacted positively on Cranswick’s performance.

“The increase in sales is especially encouraging. It further develops the sales growth achieved in recent years, evidences the success of the investment in new product development and underlines pork’s health attributes, versatility and pricing credentials compared to other proteins,” he added. “There was particularly strong growth in sales of fresh pork and bacon.”

He said the impact of higher pig prices on the company, which were caused by an increased consumer focus on British meat, were eased by efficiency improvements within Cranswick. He said a growth in sales volume of pork, acquisitions and “constructive discussions” with its customers also effected performance positively at this time.

Pork sales

Meanwhile, Cranswick’s fresh pork sales grew by 26% on the previous year, supported by the company’s new Riverside retail packing facility in Hull. The new facility complemented operations at Cranswick’s current Hull and Norfolk primary processing facilities, which also benefited from chilling technology investments.

Sausage sales increased by 4%, which Cranswick said were improved by the summer weather and more barbecuing opportunities.

Bacon sales also saw healthy growth of 18% yoy, of which premium varieties showed particular strength. “Sales growth was also supported by the introduction of new speciality cures and smoked products and by the continued development of ready to cook ranges which are now being produced across the fresh pork, bacon and sausage categories,” Cranswick said.

Market analysis

City analysts Clive Black and Darren Shirley, of Shore Capital, said: “Cranswick’s sales momentum was largely volume driven in H1 2013/14. Encouragingly, trading progress was recorded more or less across the board but particularly in fresh pork where sales grew by a tremendous 26% yoy growth with the supermarkets, Cranswick is benefiting from market growth and business wins from major UK supermarkets.”